The 9 th plenary meeting of the Asian Network of Major Cities 21 (ANMC21) opened in Tokyo , Japan , on Nov. 8, drawing representatives from 11 cities in the region, including the Vietnamese capital of Hanoi.

While speaking at the meeting, Tokyo Mayor Shintaro Ishihara called on the delegates to discuss joint projects among the cities to cope with the pademic influenza A/H1N1 and other issues.

Cooperative relations among the ANMC21 member cities could be more effective than negotiations among governments, he said.

The Tokyo mayor also proposed the establishment of a joint research centre in Asia to develop vaccines.

During the two-day meeting, the delegates are scheduled to hear reports on the implementation of ANMC21’s joint projects, including those designed to develop small and medium-sized passenger aircraft, improve the members’ capacity in crisis management, and deal with infectious diseases in Asia.

The participants will also debate measures to protect the environment and reduce greenhouse emissions in cities, the future development of ANMC21 and select the host for the network’s 10 th plenary meeting.

They are expected to adopt a joint declaration at the end of the annual meeting. Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Phu Binh will represent Hanoi at the signing ceremony of the joint declaration.

Established in August 2000 as an initiative of Mayor Ishihara, ANMC21 is aimed at undertaking joint projects on common tasks regarding crisis management, environmental countermeasures and industrial development, and applying the outcome for the prosperity in the Asian region. It is now carrying out 12 joint projects to address common issues the member cities are facing./.